Solana supports Greece on name

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said yesterday that Greece has the «full solidarity» of the 27-nation bloc in its name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Solana made the comment after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Luxembourg to discuss the matter. «The time has come to find a solution,» said the Spanish diplomat, who incurred Athens’s ire earlier this month when he said he did not like the idea of Greece threatening to veto FYROM’s bid to join the EU and NATO. However, Solana said yesterday that he would soon be holding «frank» talks with the government in Skopje and would make the «urgent nature» of the situation clear. NATO is expected to decide on FYROM’s accession in April while the EU will also have to draw up next year a membership framework for the neighboring country. Bakoyannis made a point of underlining that Greece is expecting the EU’s backing on the issue. In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, the Greek foreign minister said the onus was on FYROM to solve the dispute but her counterpart in Skopje, Antonio Milososki, denied this was the case. «The fact that this sort of reaction only comes from Athens means that no other country in the world has a problem with the constitutional name of our country [Republic of Macedonia].»